The movie is narrated by horse who is sharing his life's story. He is born at an English country side farm and there he stayed by his mother's side until he sent to serve Squire Gordon and his family. Lady Gordon is noticeably ill but is pleased with the horse and gives him his trademark name Black Beauty. While living with Squire Gordon Beauty meets the bitter Mare named Ginger but despite all his attempts to be friendly she refuses to let him get near. He later becomes friends with the children's pony named Merrylegs.
After a close call on a flooded bridge, Joe the stable boy who has a lack of knowledge in the care of horses gives beauty cold water instead of blankets causing him to become ill. Caretaker John, Joe, and the Squire work together to treat Beauty's illness. He soon recovers and is back prancing around in no time.
Soon the family is urged to move to a warmer area due to Lady Gordon's illness becoming worse. Ginger and Beauty are sent to the Lord and Lady of Wexmire where Joe says goodbye to Beauty. Beauty is eventually sold by the Lord.
At a fair Beauty spots Joe and whinnies loudly to get his attention but he doesn't notice him. There a taxi drives spots Beauty and buys him. He treats better than his old owner did and he likes his new home very much. He is given the name Black Jack here. When is owner becomes gravely ill and is told by his doctor to quit his job he is sold to a grain farmer.
For two years beauty struggles to pull heavy carts of grain. He eventually collapses from exhausted. He is then sent to the fair to again get sold. He does not get looked at often as he is very weak now. Then a man approaches. At first Beauty didn't recognize him but it is Joe. Joe buys him and he lives out his days on Joe's farm where he is promised to never be sold again.